A School Security Roundtable: What’s Trending on Campus

Three campus security professionals offer candid thoughts concerning K-12


The Panel

Joe Perchetti,

Security Supervisor of Radnor Township School District

Joe is currently employed with the Radnor Township School District as the supervisor of the district’s security department. Among many duties, his primary responsibility is maintaining a safe and secure environment, by balancing the need to protect students, staff and property with the desire to create an open environment that remains conducive to learning. He is charged with public safety and security management of over 1,100 professional and support staff; nearly 3,900 students; within seven buildings, containing 779,000 square feet on 181 acres.

 

Karen Dickey,

CPP LLC

Karen has served as the Business Manager and later the Director of Operations for a large independent school in the southeast where she accumulated over 20 years of experience planning and supervising in the areas of Emergency Response, Facilities, Transportation and School Health. She earned her ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP) Designation in April 2011 when she began her school security consulting business.

 

Ron Self,

Director of Safety and Security, Blytheville School District

Ron began his law enforcement career in 1999 and for the past 15 years has dedicated himself to law enforcement and security. For the past 7 years he has served as the Director of Safety and Security with the Blytheville School District and during his time here he has made multiple improvements in school security including literally rewriting the book on the districts lock down procedures and installing an elaborate IP camera system.

 

On the surface, a school’s mission seems quite clear – to teach, to nurture, to inspire. Whether it’s an elementary school, a high school or a university, students should be free to explore the world around them. Teachers, books, and chalkboards are all imperative to help achieve these objectives. And just as important is a safe and secure environment.

Though the tragedies that have shocked the country in recent years remain anomalies, every school has to plan for the worst. School administrators are tasked with the challenge of securing students and staff, while not allowing fear to dictate the atmosphere and attitude of a school.

At ASSA ABLOY, we strive to address the security needs of many types of facilities, including schools, by pairing innovative access control technologies with practical applications. Because security should provide peace of mind and a feeling of freedom, these solutions should not be top of mind for everyday users, but quick and easy to use if or when they are needed.

As schools continue to face new challenges, they must also educate themselves with information to meet those changes. Learn from some of the challenges and successes your colleagues have experienced in our roundtable discussion on school security.

For this special roundtable-in-print sponsored by ASSA ABLOY, Security Technology Executive’s Editor-in-chief Steve Lasky sat down with three top education security professionals. The following Q&A highlights some topical issues now facing this vertical market.

 

STE: As someone involved with school and campus security and emergency management, what keeps you up at night?

  • Joe Perchetti: The worst case scenarios -- the loss of life, loss of structure and infrastructure. The dealing with the trauma to associated people and stress coping management for the eventual return to normal (operations).
  • Karen Dickey: The thought that there was something else my team or I should be doing in terms of the safety of our staff and students. Security is a process, not a product. Our plans are never ever “finished”, or have all layers of security perfectly in place. It is dynamic process, so working hard towards due diligence is the key, along with practice, practice, practice.
  • Ron Self: Anything and everything that has to do with keeping my kids safe. I often say that some of my best thoughts hit me in the middle of the night. School shootings have become very common place in today’s society so anything that I can do to prevent these is forefront. Recently my focus has been more on training our students and staff to be less of a sitting duck.
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